He hasn’t even played a game yet and already Joel Embiid is a must follow on twitter. Remember last summer when he (jokingly) tried to recruit LeBron James to Philly?
Then Sunday night the Sixers beat a depleted Cavaliers team, one without LeBron James or Kyrie Irving. After the win Embiid tweeted this:
You’ve got to love Embiid. It will be even better when he starts playing in actual games, which likely will not be until next season. Because the Sixers. But at least it’s a potential star with some personality, the league could use that.
J.R. Smith and his $6.4 million owed next season are now gone. Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and a lot of other players come off the books as their contracts expire. After their moves this week the Knicks should have more than $25 million in cap space next summer to go after….
That’s not really accurate, they will make a run at Marc Gasol for one, but the rumor is they are realistic about it and not optimistic they will land the Spanish big man. After that the names that come up are the Thunder’s Reggie Jackson and then, maybe nobody of note, reports Ian Begley of ESPN New York.
The feeling among some around the league is that the Knicks will instead target second- and third-tier free agents this summer and maintain some cap flexibility for the summer of 2016, when a free-agent class headlined by Kevin Durant becomes available.
One name to keep an eye on this summer is Reggie Jackson. NBA people expect the Knicks to have interest in Jackson, who can test free agency this summer. Jackson likely will be a restricted free agent. But with Oklahoma City having obtained Dion Waiters, the club may not break the bank to retain Jackson.
Durant’s potential free agency is like LeBron James’ in 2010 in the sense that he is such a game changer every team that can will make sure it has cap space to offer him a max contract. If he were to leave Oklahoma City — and that is still a big “if,” the Thunder remain the odds on favorite to retain him — teams such as his home town Wizards, the Lakers and a host of others will join the Knicks in trying to land the top scorer in the game.
I don’t think the Knicks should be totally quiet in free agency and only swing for the fences, they need to spend a little on role players who fit the triangle system. That means smart veteran guys, unselfish guys, and some guys who can space the floor with their shot. Not everybody fits in their system.
But they do need another star to go next to Carmelo Anthony and they do need to keep enough money free to offer the max to Gasol or Durant or whomever else they are able to land down the line. If they strike out on the big names this summer, they may very well keep most of their powder dry looking ahead to 2016.
Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while watching what CNN plans to run if the world comes to an end…
Detroit Pistons. You could just see this team growing and improving over the course of the game. In the fist quarter, especially when the Spurs bench unit came in, the Pistons looked confused on offense and just flat out lost on defense. But as the game wore on the Pistons started to figure things out, Stan Van Gundy made his adjustments, and the Pistons’ confidence grew. Andre Drummond keyed the Pistons’ third quarter run where they took the lead and he was a beast all night, finishing with 20 points and 17 rebounds. D.J. Augustin added 19 off the bench, while Greg Monroe looked comfortable on his way to 17 points on 10 shots.
Still, it looked like the Spurs late-game execution was going to win the day for the NBA champs, until that execution let them down and Brandon Jennings took advantage with the shot of the night.
Suns late game execution. Phoenix was sloppy at the start of their game against Milwaukee, and when the Bucks went on a 16-5 run they were putting on a fun dunking show. But when the game got tight late the Suns executed better — they scored on 9 of 10 possessions when the game was on the line, until the Bucks had to start intentionally fouling. (Stat via NBA.com’s John Schuhmann.) When the game was on the line the Suns guards were great, Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic all made plays. But the big star and the guy that hit the dagger was Markieff Morris, who finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Quality road win for the Suns against an athletic and tough Bucks team.
Bucks dunks. Milwaukee may have lost, but man are they fun to watch. Both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight had big dunks in this one that are worth watching again.